There But For The, by Ali Smith
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
Saturday 14 July 2012
Where Smith's previous novel, The Accidental, saw a charismatic chancer barging her way into the affections of a middle-class family, here, a guest at a dinner party quite literally barges his way into a family home by excusing himself during desert and barricading himself into their upstairs en suite room.
What elevates this cute if gimmicky central idea is Smith's shimmering imagination, her humour and some stupendous prose. The scene preceding the guest's lock-in is a masterclass in social satire.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
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Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
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Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
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Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
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